When Infiniti issued the A33 generation of the I30 for model year 2000, they boasted that you simply could not get this kind of power in this class before; the '99s had a better-than-decent 190 horsepower, but the '00s packed 37 hp more in exactly the same displacement, a hair under three liters. I was not aware of this claim when Gwendolyn settled into my garage, but damn, she seemed fast enough, especially compared to the little four-cylinder box I'd driven the previous five and a half years.

Twelve years later, Gwendolyn is still here and still running decently well, though there were a couple of issues I thought merited giving her a spa day today. I hit the dealership at precisely 8 am and turned over the keys. As they'd done every time before, they'd set aside a loaner for me, but for the first time ever, it was a three-row sport-utility vehicle. Said I to the service consultant: "There is a nonzero chance that I won't be able to climb into the QX60."

The odds rose to 100 percent rather quickly: I couldn't hoist myself into the wagon no matter what. Thank you, I said, but maybe I ought to be looking for a ride to work. She shook her head: "Give me a few minutes, and I'll find you a smaller car."

About 15 minutes later, a Platinum-colored Q50 sedan from sales inventory — only 850 miles on the clock — appeared. I've driven Q50s before, and while I'm nowhere near as flexible as I used to be, I figured I could deal with this $44,000 boat and its Luxe package.

I figured wrong. Instead of the 3.7-liter normally-aspirated V6 in the earlier Q50s, this shiny beast had a turbocharged 3.0-liter. I understood why, I think — the 3.7 was distinctly thirstier than the turbo — but the turbo came on full boil awfully quickly, and more than once I thought I was going to lose control of it, despite its 28-pony deficit versus the 3.7.

It was worse on the way back; a day's work left me with severe distrust of my ability to work the pedals, and I crawled up Kelley Avenue at something like 60 percent of the speed limit. (From I-44 to the dealership: 6100 to 13000.) At least no one tailgated me; I speculated, briefly, that since the Monroney sticker was still in place, that drivers behind me thought I was in limp-home mode heading back to the dealer. Gwendolyn has about $1100 worth of work that needs to be done quickly, and another $1100 worth that doesn't need to be done so quickly.

I could probably save a couple hundred bucks by going to the nearest independent garage. But I figure, a dealer who will lend me a car out of their sales inventory despite the fact that they have a regular loaner fleet is definitely worth my business after twelve years.

The Vent

  17 July 2018

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